China’s Terracotta Warriors Visit New York City #TPThursday

China’s Terracotta Warriors have been dazzling the world since they were discovered accidentally by a farmer in 1974. Now several of them, along with artifacts and treasures dating to 221 B.C.E., are on view at Discovery Times Square until August 26, 2012.

Terracotta Warriors - Pottery
Terracotta Warriors – Pottery

Standing more than 6 feet and weighing 600 pounds each, the soldiers were created 2,000 years ago to protect Qin Shi Huangdi, China’s First Emperor, in the afterlife. Qin, who proclaimed himself emperor in 221 B.C.E., is responsible for unifying warring factions into the country we now know as China. He built the first Great Wall and China’s canal systems, standardized weights and measures and introduced a uniform writing script. Qin died in 210 B.C.E.

Terracotta Warriors
Terracotta Warriors – Replica of Burial Site

So far, about 8,000 uniquely crafted terracotta soldiers have been excavated. In addition, horses, helmets — though no terracotta warrior wore a helmet, pottery, cooking utensils, and ornaments have been discovered in vaults across an area of 22 square miles.

Terracotta Warriors
Terracotta Warriors

The exhibition at Discovery Times Square begins with a look back at the Qin Dynasty and continues to the Han Dynasty. It features at least 5 life-sized terracotta warriors, pottery, cooking utensils, armor and two short films – one featuring the farmer, Zhifa Zang, who found the site and another showing a simulation of the army preparing to attack with bows and arrows.

Terracotta Warriors
Terracotta Warriors
Terracotta Warriors
Terracotta Warriors – Still from documentary. Diagram of the vaults the warriors were found in.

Terracotta Warriors – Defenders of China’s First Emperor is on view until August 26 at Discovery Times Square, 226 W 44th Street, between 7th & 8th Avenues. Hours: Sunday-Thurs 10:00 a.m. – 8:00 p.m., Friday/Saturday until 9:00 p.m. Tickets: Children $20.50, Adults $28.00, Seniors $24.50. Audio Tour: $6.43. AmEx cardholders can get a complimentary audio tour. Flash photography not allowed. Allow 60-90 minutes for this exhibition.

Note: Groupon’s half-off ticket deal has expired (I was lucky!) but you can still get discounted tickets from,, etc.

This is my submission to this week’s Budget Travelers Sandbox Travel Photo Thursday series. Be sure to check out other photo and story entries on their website.



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28 comments on “China’s Terracotta Warriors Visit New York City #TPThursday

  1. I couldn’t help but admire these works of art. It seems that something good can still come out of the eccentricity or irrational thinking or whim of a monarch; though it must have been a torture for those who actually made those terracotta warriors.

  2. Thanks for sharing the exhibit. The imagery is puts me there as much as I can be. Seeing this makes one really appreciate artistic contributions of other countries. How contrasting the warrior stands there with a peaceful countenance.

  3. I have always wanted to see the Terra Cotta warriors. We weren’t able to get that way when we were in China last. I’m hoping this exhibit or one similar will head to Seattle soon!

  4. That, the Great Wall and the Forbidden City are high on my list of things to see in China. I was thrilled when I saw even this little bit of the warriors in NYC. Hope they make it to Seattle soon!

  5. We missed this exhibit when it was at the ROM in Toronto and Emma was so disappointed. We were at the museum for a school field trip so she saw all the signs but we had to stay with the group and weren’t allowed to take in a special exhibit even during free time. We planned to go back and never made it. I might just have to break down and take her to China (where she has wanted to go since she was 3)!

  6. Nice background info! I was lucky enough to see them in Xi-An a few years ago and it was a super impressive experience. These huge fields of almost life-size warriors and the details on each single one of them… amazing!

  7. Ditto, I’d love to see this exhibit in Seattle as well. I too would love to see the Terra Cotta warriors, just haven’t gotten myself anywhere they are appearing or back in their home base. Nice pictorial Marcia – very informative.

  8. 8,000 warriors? This guy was seriously ready to do battle with whatever is on the other side of this life. Now I kind of feel like I should tell my wife to bury me with a baseball bat or a pocket knife or something. Fascinating story!

  9. Such interesting information on the warriors. We always somehow miss these exhibitions when they’re nearby. I’ve always wanted to see these Terra Cotta warriors. That looks like an awesome exhibit.

  10. I saw a similar exhibition quite a while ago when they came to my home town and thoroughly enjoyed it.I’m always amazed at the number they found and the fact that they date back to 221BC!

  11. I wish I could get to NYC before Aug. 26th so I could see this exhibit. Who knows? Maybe I can make that happen. Otherwise, I’ll just have to go to China! Thanks for sharing your pics!

  12. Such a fascinating history behind the terracotta warriors, isn’t it…
    Must have been so interesting to see them, second only to seeing them in Xian, I imagine.

  13. Quite fascinating. I’ve always wanted to see them but since China isn’t on my list right this moment, I jumped at the chance to see them in NYC. I’d love to see them there.

  14. It is amazing, Sabrina. I can only imagine what it must have been like to see rows and rows of life sized warriors in full dress. Qin really thought of everything.

  15. Oh, it’s too bad they didn’t allow you to see it then, Lisa. I guess China’s the place to go, especially since Emma’s wanted to go since she was 3.

  16. Thanks for pointing that out, Totsy. I’m sure hundreds of artists and craftspeople worked their fingers to the bone to make these amazing sculptures. They bear as much of the credit as the emperor who conceived of the idea. They probably weren’t even paid.

  17. Oh yes, Laurel. He was interviewed on a short documentary that accompanies the exhibit. You can see the pride in his face when he describes the moment his hoe hit the first statue and what that has led to.

  18. You’re so right, Kirsten. I can only imagine how hard they had to work. As I walked through the exhibition, I wondered how many each person made and how many people worked on them.

  19. I love how you can “visit China” without even leaving the city! Very cool exhibit, thanks for the information!

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